Friday, December 7, 2007

Employment Situation

One month does not a trend make, but it is somewhat encouraging. It is actually even a bit better (coming in at 4.66%) than the headlines (4.7%).

In fact, it could be doing far worse (as seen in the sharp upward spike in 2001). I'd be tempted to point a skeptical finger towards the birth/death model perhaps, but the ADP report earlier this week also showed reasons for some optimism. Although my girlfriend is still unemployed, she's also somewhat encouraged by what she calls a recent boost in job postings (in the Seattle area) that fit her background.

Job Growth Robust, ADP Report Says; Other Data Disagree

These are confusing times to say the least (yet another reason why I'm attempting to sit on the sidelines and wait it out). I'm going to go back to what has recently become my favorite quote.

Paranoia will get you through times of no enemies better than enemies will get you through times of no paranoia. - Peter Granger

The government wants its take in good times and bad. During the good times we barely seem to notice. During the bad times we notice all too much. There really is no adequate defense for inflation and slowing growth. I would therefore love to be wrong about stagflation. The way my investments are aligned, stagflation would hurt me less than most, but would still hurt me just the same (especially over the long-term).

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Household Survey Data

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